Erin Hoffman (zhai) wrote in dqj,
Erin Hoffman

[Species Profile] The Seridensana

The Seridensana

The southern range known as the Sanctuary Mountains is punctuated by five great mountains made greater by the addition of grand spires, thousands of feet in height, to their already sky-brushing prominences. The tallest of these caps Seriden Peak, Di'Quinasev's first and oldest existing stronghold. While gryphons occupy the nearby Whitemoon Aerie, and land access to the spires, while intimidating, is possible, the primary inhabitants of the Sanctuary Mountains are the birdlike humanoids known as the Seridensana, or "children of the prominence". While "prominence peak" may seem redundant, it should be noted that the mountain was named after Zhaiseriden of legend; the Seridensana, like the Yaseri and the Chzarseri, accepted the name that the gryphons gave them more or less out of politeness, having referred to themselves previously in the telepathic language that all of the pre-Quinasevite species used, only as "the people", or rather as a wordless mental expression roughly equating to that phrase.

Physically, the Seridensana appear to be completely feathered, winged humans with elongated limbs and slim torsos. Like the tri'seria and the birdriders (though less directly than the latter), they share heritage with the humans far back in their most ancient lineage; while the gryphons were created by the goddesses, the Seridensana were chosen by them, voluntarily elevated out of what the goddesses perceived to be an inferior shell and given the mark of divinity. As might be anticipated, the Seridensana are by and large an intensely spiritual people.

Feathers cover the Seridensana from head to toe, though in varying textures. At the forehead they possess a brief crest that can be slightly lifted as a means of facial expression (an intense upward motion for alarm or anger, a slow puffing of the crest and cheek feathers for contentment, etc); these feathers transition across the head to a thin, soft and hair-like feather, in length varying between the length of the forearm to the length of the entire arm dependent upon heritage. While these feathers cannot be lifted to the same degree as the crest, like all feathers they are somewhat mobile and can be raised both to cool or warm the body and to aid in expression. The feathers of the face are tiny, following a circular layout around the eyes and laying symmetrically down the cheeks. The lips (which cover a beak in place of teeth) and eyelids are bare, showing the color of the 'sana's skin. The smallest feathers, being sleek but firm on the outside and softer on the inside, cover the hands; a Seridensana is feathered to the very tips of its feet, which are both taloned and polydactyl and can be used for gripping branches, ledges, and the like. The species possesses a long, jointed shoulderblade that supports and protects both the back of the arms and the wings.

Ranging in color from the palest of dusty blues to the night-black of a raven to the intense red of a cardinal, Seridensana possess diverse plumage within clans connected individually to each goddess. Feather coloration is inherited, and while most inhabitants of Di'Quinasev are born with a completely variable elemental orientation, Seridensana tend to inherit the elemental alignments of their parents. The result of this is a loose formation of entire clans each oriented loosely toward one of the four goddesses, or, in some cases, specifically one of their sub-domains, such as Sleet, Wave, Lightning, or Sun. Those oriented toward Ele'cherath, the goddess of fire, tend to bear plumage in shades of red, burgundy, dark orange, and gold; those toward Ala'niste, the goddess of water, tend toward pale blues, greens, olives, and opals; those toward Sia'kalia, the goddess of air, tend toward pale yellows, deep blues, whites, pale greys, and ivories; and those oriented toward Tal'anakae, the goddess of earth, tend to favor browns, stripe-patterns, dark golds, and speckles/spots. Predominantly black or white Seridensana can appear as flukes in any of the clans; the High Priestess who presides at Sia'kalia citadel is almost always completely white in plumage.

Culturally Seridensana are primarily concerned with two things: singing or architecture. As a mark of the 'divine touch', all Seridensana have the capability to become a Voice, which is to say, they can channel the consciousness, if it can be defined as such, of one of the goddesses or their avatars (essentially fragments of personality). When they channel the thoughts of an avatar, their physical voice splits into a two-note harmony whether speaking or singing; when they channel the voice of a goddess, their voice splits into a full three-note chord. At some particularly poignant addresses given by the High Priestess, it is said that a fourth note (an octave above the first) can be discerned. As a result of this, Seridensana place great emphasis on song, its craft and performance, primarily as a method of honoring one's goddess. Architecture is something of a foible of the race -- the Seridensana create vaulting, almost impossible-seeming structures that soar high into the air, laced with delicate buttresses and crafted like works of gigantic sculpture. Thus far their architecture is primarily limited to the Sanctuary Mountains alone, but this may not always be the case; increasingly in recent times, Seridensana architecture students are being drawn away from the mountains of their origin to experience greater artistic freedom in designing structures in the open world.

As with all societies, not all Seridensana take well to the intense goddess-reverance and strict social structures common to the Sanctuary Mountains and Whitemoon Aerie. These 'sana most frequently do not remain in the mountains past their twentieth year. As the 'sana produce those most devoted to the goddesses, they also produce the most defiant renegades, though in much smaller numbers; many lone 'sana who venture out into the world deliberately divest themselves of any outward -- and sometimes even inward -- spirituality, and thus as a result the greater world is not always aware of the timbre of common Seridensana culture. 'Sana that venture beyond the peaks and shun their heritage are often greatly conflicted and internally tumultuous, for it is no exaggeration to say that the touch of the goddesses is written in the very fiber of their bodies.
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